OXO February Challenge: How to Mise En Place Like a Pro
Words Amalia Safran
Getting better organized in the kitchen feels like a daunting task. We’re so tempted to just jump right in to cooking that sometimes we forget how important it is to prep. To get better results, we’re taking on the challenge of mise en place.
Mise en place means “put in place”—it’s the idea of prepping all ingredients and organizing what you’ll need before you start cooking. Carrots, celery and onions are peeled and chopped. Liquids are poured into measuring cups and spices are measured out. When the work is put in upfront, the process of cooking is smoother and the end results are better.
Professional chefs swear by mise en place—it’s what makes it possible to serve 100 plates at once at a restaurant—and at OXO, we couldn’t agree more. We’re all about properly preparing when we take on a dish so the process is easier and the results are better. Here is our guide to mise en place like the pros:
1. Read the whole recipe first. Find out what ingredients you need from your cabinets and what you’ll need from the fridge. So many times we’ll catch ourselves skipping this step and then learning the meat was supposed to come to room temperature or a whole sauce is supposed to be made beforehand.
2. Grab the right equipment. Along with laying out ingredients, we like to make sure the right tools are ready to go, so you don’t have to pause to clean a knife or find your peeler.
4. Once an ingredient is chopped, add it to a bowl (keeping each ingredient separate). Keep clearing the cutting board so there is space to work.
5. Glass Prep Bowls can be used to hold smaller ingredients like spices, minced garlic and herbs. They’re handy and keep ingredients organized.
7. For mixed sauces and dressings (for dishes like stir fry or grain bowls), we enlist squeeze bottles that have measurement markings. Add ingredients to the squeeze bottle and give it a shake.
8. Once ingredients are prepped and in bowls and measuring cups, add everything to a sheet pan. This will make it easier to transport to the stove or the counter where you’re working.
When all ingredients and equipment is in the right place, you’re ready to start cooking. Grab each ingredient as needed. We find the cooking process to be less stressful and we get better results—steaks cooked perfectly because you can focus on it and pasta cooked al dente since you can keep track of time.
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